Now we can understand why the people of the earlier generations were of an immeasurably greater caliber than the latter ones. For the rule regarding partzufim — be they partzufim of entire worlds or of (individual) souls — is that the purer vessels are rectified first. And so the CHaBaD vessels of the world at large and (individual) souls where fashioned first.
As such, while the individuals living in the first two millennia were of a much higher caliber than the latter generations, they nonetheless couldn’t partake of the full light (involved in the revelation of the Zohar and Kabbalah) since they lacked the lower vessels of CHaGAT– NeHYM both on a personal and a universal level.
The same was true in the course of the middle two millennia, when the CHaGAT-vessels were fashioned in the world and in (individual) souls.
Those who lived in the course of the middle two millennia — in the “Torah” era — likewise didn’t merit knowledge of the Zohar or Kabbalah, despite their spiritual standing. For while many of them excelled in Torah, they weren’t ready for the sort of Torah of the final era which is Torah connected to the coming of the Moshiach.
For though the souls (i.e., individuals alive then) were indeed very pure, as CHaGAT-vessels are nearly on par with CHaBaD-vessels,…
Both CHaBaD– and CHaGAT-vessels are sublime, despite their relative disparity, and the same is true of the individuals who lived in the course of the first and second two millennia: they too were sublime and far greater than we,…
… nonetheless, the (more sublime) lights were still-and-all concealed from the world (then), because the vessels from the “chest” downward weren’t yet in place in the world or in (individual) souls.
… which explains exactly why those individuals likewise weren’t worthy of the Zohar and Kabbalah.
Our generation on the other hand — despite the fact that our souls are of the lowest quality and haven’t been fashioned in holiness — has nonetheless allowed for the rectification of the vessels of the partzuf of the world and (individual) souls. And we can thus complete the task (of allowing for the revelation of the Zohar and Kabbalah).
For now that the (final, lowest) vessels of NeHY and (thus) all the vessels of beginning, middle, and end are in place in the partzuf — whole configurations of light, which is to say, a beginning, middle, and end, and a Nephesh, Ruach, and Neshama are being extended to all who merit it. Thus it’s only (now,) with the completion of such lowly souls (as our own) that the supreme lights can be revealed, when they couldn’t be before.
(c) 2013 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman
Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
AT LONG LAST! Rabbi Feldman’s translation of Maimonides’ “Eight Chapters” is available here at a discount.
You can still purchase a copy of Rabbi Feldman’s translation of “The Gates of Repentance” here at a discount as well.
Rabbi Yaakov Feldman has also translated and commented upon “The Path of the Just” and “The Duties of the Heart” (Jason Aronson Publishers).